Exterior view of the shut Georgshütte Photo: Stefanie Waske
The G. Becker & Co. owned Georgshütte was closed down in 1989. It was founded in 1872 by (Ludwig) Wilhelm Becker (1839-1913). This factory specialised on pressed glass. It formed a network with Becker’s glass factories in Neuhaus (table glass) and in Rottmünde (bottle glass). Pressed glass became fashionable in the 1870s and imitated the expensive glassware used by the upper and middle classes. The “Bottle and Pressed Glass Factory and Steam Grinding Shop“ relied upon machine power and glass finishing by hand. The company’s own railway siding allowed cheaper coal to be delivered to the factory.
Inexpensive goods dominated: beer glasses accompanied and kept pace with the growth of the breweries and pubs, and from 1906 onwards bottling jars were produced. Drinking glasses, vases, bowls and medicinal glass were additional products. From the 1880s onwards, the Georgshütte employed about 80 workers, who worked in several shifts. The company built dwellings for their skilled workers and the rural surroundings enabled them to have allotments and to keep some animals.
Undated aerial photo of the Georgshütte; the workers dwellings are top right Photo: Archive of the community of Boffzen
The First World War brought about changes: in 1917 the shortage of coal even resulted in the cooperation with the local competitor Noelle & von Campe, which lasted several years. The company was closed down a number of times during the early 1920s and the World Economic Crisis. However, after these difficult years, the company benefitted from the general economic recovery and from the rearmament policy of the NS regime. In the early 1940s the glass factory underwent considerable expansion and had 250 workers. Those who were conscripted into the army were partly replaced by forced labourers from occupied countries in Eastern Europe.
Glass for everyday usage was also popular after 1945. The Georgshütte was able to continue production quickly and especially beer glasses sold well throughout West Germany. Manual work continued to be important, especially so since in the 1960s more and more decorative and partially coloured vases and bowls were being made– „bel Mondo-becker design“ was the last of these series. With the closing down of the company, an important chapter of the glass history of Boffzen came to an end.
Karl Heinz Hoffmann has taken a gather of glass out of the furnace using his glass maker’s blowpipe Photo: Detlef Knop